Soon we will elect the next president of Ukraine. We have already experienced several similar elections, but this time, after the tragic events on the one hand and the national awakening at Maidan on the other, while standing on the threshold of significant changes in our social life and a real opportunity to live in a normal democratic country, this vote is of particular importance for our nation.
From the history of many nations over the centuries, we know how important a person leader is, regardless of what we may call him: emperor, king, prince, hetman, president, secretary general.
A good leader, sincerely devoted to his people and truly wishing them well, is a great joy for the people. A bad leader, focused not on the common good but on other things, can be said to be a curse on the people.
An illustrative example of the importance of a good president for Ukraine is the behavior of our foes and enemies, who want to disrupt the upcoming elections at any cost.
It is therefore no surprise that as we are living through critical times in our history, we dream of a good head of state.
I suspect that many fellow citizens are now asking themselves: what is the use of our new president and a new government? This is not surprising. Indeed, many Ukrainians grew up when Ukraine was an integral part of the USSR. In those times a citizen was of no value. Everything that a man could have or do depended on the communist leadership, which claimed that it provided everything one could need.
Bolshevik propaganda constantly asserted that the USSR was the most democratic state in the world, when in fact there was not even a whiff of democracy in the Union. The people had no voice.
Unfortunately, we have not completely shaken off this way of thinking yet. Therefore, the question arises: what will we will get from all of this?
Thank God, over 20-plus years, there have been changes, and new opportunities have emerged. Over the past few months, these changes have taken on new forms, new life. As mentioned above, we are on the threshold of establishing a genuinely democratic system.
What does this mean?
Our great poet Ivan Franko stated it aptly. In his poem ‘The Great Anniversary,’ he says, “Remember that everyone holds the fate of millions in his hands and to these millions you will have to answer.” These lines include two key words.
The first is ‘everyone’— not just high-ranking officials and civil servants, but every citizen, without exception, from the oldest to the youngest, from the highest to the lowest.
The second key word is ‘you.’ This is a personal appeal, not to some ‘he,’ ‘she,’ or ‘they,’ but ‘you.’ Each of us is personally responsible for the fate of the nation.
This wording strikes great fear in the hearts of those who are used to getting something without doing a thing to earn it, or who are afraid to do anything at all.
Am I responsible for the fate of millions? Yes, you are.
As we stand on the threshold of a new era in the history of Ukraine, we must be fully aware of this responsibility to the common good. Otherwise, the sacrifices of our grandparents and parents, Heaven’s Hundred and Maidan’s spiritual uplift, will be useless.
The fundamental question now before each of us is this: What can and should I personally do? How should I think, speak, and act in order to guarantee my people their God-given human rights?
I would like to remind you, dear readers, that our sincere prayer to the Heavenly Father asking for His merciful care is crucial these days. As our national saying goes, ‘Trust in God, but make an effort.’
Without God’s help, we will not accomplish anything, but if we do not strive to make an effort, we will hinder the Grace of God!
+ Archbishop Emeritus Lubomyr
Translated by Katherina Smirnova, edited by Robin Rohrback
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